Sunday, June 16, 2024

Royal Princess Alaska Cruise Review - June 15, 2024 

Royal Princess Cruise Review - June 15, 2024

Just The Facts:

Ship: Grand Princess, a Royal Class class ship @139,000 gross tons and 3600 capacity
Captain: Steve Holland  -  Cruise Director: Kelvin Joy
Ports: Vancouver, Canada - Ketchikan AK (2) - Juneau, AK (2) - Skagway, AK - Glacier Bay (Sailing)(2) - College Fjord (Sailing) - Whittier, AK -.Hubbard Glacier (sailing)

This is an S2S (side-to-side) cruise having moved over to the Grand Princess from the Koningdam in Vancouver.  It’s also a B2B as I’m doing the 7-day cruise to Whittier and then the 7-day return back to Vancouver the following week.  This is my first cruise on the Royal Princess but this will be my 23rd and 24th sailings on Princess and my 212th and 213th cruises overall. A mixture of repeat and new ports from last week.  I'll review these in one review.
 
Day One -- Saturday --  June 15th, 2024 -- Embarkation Day - Vancouver Canada
No travel days as I’m already at the embarkation port.  It was a rather smooth transition slightly complicated by the Grands' later arrival this morning.  We also sailed a little early, I was told both were due to the tides, seems this ship has to be concerned with the height of the  Lions Gate Bridge. I spent some time in Canada Place, they have a huge  Food Court and pharmacy as well as some great Totem Poles, one from 1900 protected inside (photo). Security for boarding began late due to ships arrival so a compressed arrival window for guests and long lines.   Things moved well though…the facial recognition helps.  I was boarded and in my cabin by 1:00 PM.   I do have an interior cabin but it was all that was available with my late booking.  I didn’t get a cabin assignment until 3 days before sailing.  I’m basically in the middle/middle from low to high deck and forward to aft.  It is huge as it’s an HC cabin… a huge bath too with no bulkhead to trip on either.  I went up to the  Horizon Court (Lido buffet) at about 2:00   pm for lunch.  I had a  Shwarma from the International Bistro, Some good Bread Pudding and great Carrot Cake, then some fresh fruit.  I did my check-in at my Muster  Station while doing a short Walkabout.  Not many Bars open, but perhaps intentionally due to so many boarding in a short window.  I met my cabin Stewart and he stressed me a bit by saying he hadn’t seen my bags and we were sailing away.  But he soon returned with them, I mentioned that they tagged them early this morning with a different style of tag, but all was well.  I was then able to set up the cabin, including moving the bed to a different wall.  Remember, a huge cabin…but I will miss my great balcony from last week.  At about 6:45 pm I went to the Crooners  Bar it was very entertaining with a great Bartender with Flair and a nice couple from Illinois. At about 8:20 I went to the Symphony Dining  Room on Deck 5.  Good waiter and good food.  I ordered the Greek Salad,  the Pan Fried Alaskan Cod entree as well as the Roast Pork Tenderloin  Medallions since that’s what I ordered on the first night on Konsingsdam last week… much better on the K-Dam. I ordered a nice Alaskan Blueberry Cobbler with Ice Creme for dessert.  I retired to the cabin after dinner.  It was an interesting Transition Day in Vancouver’s Canadian  Place.

Day Two -- Sunday --  June 16th, 2024 -- Inside Passage to Alaska

Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well in the interior cabin. At about 7:45 am I went down to the Concerto Dining Room (MDR) for breakfast.  I ordered the daily Special; a Fruit Plate and Eggs Florentine.  I also had Hot Milk, Danish, Hash Browns, and Bacon. It was good. My cabin steward came as soon as I arrived back so I did a walkabout even going on the outer deck although I was wearing shorts and a T-shirt.  The seas were much smoother than at this point last week.  I returned to the cabin and updated this blog as it was too busy yesterday and caught up on some business the rest of the morning. At about 1:00 pm  I went to the Horizon Court for lunch, I made a do-it-yourself Hamburger and a Coney with fresh French Fries.  They were good.  I first took my large mug and filled it with ice at the Lido Pool Bar, then had Diet Coke delivered to the table.  The Medallion System is great, they can find you for delivery of drinks or food.  I had a lazy day watching movies, it was too cool on the outer decks and the scheduled activities didn’t appeal to me.  My standard answer to a common question I get from other guests: “The advantage of having cruised 212 days is that I don’t have to do anything”.  That’s what I did today.  I went on a Coke run and had dinner in the Horizon Court, it wasn’t busy I guess most wanted to have the Captain's Night formal dinner.  They had everything on the Buffet, I sampled: Baked Fish, Fried Fish, Duck, Carved Turkey, and could have had Prime Rib too.  I have good WiFi with streaming this cruise so I watched TV and surfed the Web until sheep time.  It was a nice lazy day on the Royal Princess. 

Day Three -- Monday — June 17th, 2024 — Ketchikan, Alaska
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. We changed our clocks/time back one hour to Alaska time overnight. It was daylight at 4:30 am and we were docked hours before our scheduled 7:00 am arrival this morning. I did some business early this morning as Markets open at 6:30 am local time. At about 8:00 am had a small breakfast in the Lido Market as my only plan for the day was to eat at the Alaska Fish House, I couldn’t last week as I had a Seafood Boil as a part of my excursions. We are docked at Pier #4 the furthest and newest pier, but much better than tendering like I did last week. I left the ship at about 9:30 and casually walked into town. Three other ships came in and docked as the morning progressed.  I took photos of the large stuffed bears located at many of the vendor locations so I’d have a collection to show the granddaughter.  I arrived at the Alaska Fish House at about 10:30, it was already full as they open at 10, but no long line as they usually have, since I was ahead of guests from those newly arrived ships. I got the 3-piece Halibut Fish & Chips, Fries, Slaw & DrPepper. I ate outside in the back with the beautiful view and enjoyed the excellent weather. The fish was the best and I then stayed to enjoy a Pilsner Beer. I then walked over to the famous Creek Street Historic Area (photo), the former red light district now with unique shops in the retired period Madame Houses. I began the walk back stopping at the Sourdough Bar for a couple of Alaskan beers. I was back at the ship by 2:00 pm ahead of our 2:30 BoB (back-on-board) time.  Met one of the feature singers in the line so I’ll go to a production show this cruise. I stopped at Bellini's for a rest and cocktail on the way to the cabin.  After a nice hot shower, I attended the Elite Guest Reception at 4:30 pm in the Vista Lounge. Not many attending.  Today's hors d’oeuvres included: Waldorf Salad (in a martini glass), a selection of Sushi, Dipping Vegetables, Fruits, Cheeses, Nuts, and more. The warm selection was Empanadas. The Solo Guitarist was the entertainment and I enjoyed the Cherry Garden specialty cocktail. I will try not to miss this daily event. I had to visit the Crooners Bar for my Cosmopolitan and some new variations. I was joined at a late dinner by a new Canadian friend in the Symphony Dining Room on Deck 5. I ordered: the warm Alaska Shrimp & Spinach Dip, and the Choucroute consisting of Smoked Pork, Sausage, and Parsley Potatoes, on a bed of Sauerkraut (Choucroute). Excellent, I love German Food. I retired straight away after the great meal. It was a great day in Ketchikan and on the Royal Princess.
 
Day Four -- Tuesday --  June 18, 2024 -- Juneau, Alaska 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. I woke at about 6:00 am while we were docking, I updated this blog and reviewed some business until 9:00 am when I went to the MDR before it closed for Breakfast.  I had two fried Eggs, Hash Browns, Bacon, Sausage, Danish, Hot Milk, and a Fruit Plate.  It was very Good.  I left the ship at about 10:30 am, we are at the far pier so a bit of a walk into town. I took my time as I wanted to make it to Capital Barbers by 11:00 am when they opened.  I walked up at exactly 11:00 and she opened the door as I arrived.  Good thing too as two walkups came soon afterward.  Great and needed haircut too ($28+).  I then walked over to the Alaska State Museum and spent over an hour looking at the displays.  The museum covers the Earliest of Times to Native Alaskans, to Russian Settlements, to American Acquisition, to the Salmon Rush to the Gold Rush, to the World Wars, to the Oil Boom, to Modern Times.  Very well done ($13 seniors).  I then went through the State Office Building as I remembered a huge Bear in the Lobby.  I then had a beer in the old Alaska Hotel Bar…a real throwback bar that still hasn’t changed since I visited in 2012.  I then stopped at the new hot spot: DeckHand Dave’s Fish Tacos.  I had the Halibut Fish & Chips ($28). It was as almost as good as yesterday in Ketchikan.  I walked right on past the Red Dog as I slowly walked back towards the Ship.  We now have five cruise ships in port.  I made it back to the Royal Princess at about 3:00 pm. I went to the Vista Lounge at 4:30 pm again for the Elite Reception.  The hors d’oeuvres included: Guacamole, Salsa & Chips, Tuna Salad, Dipping Vegetables, Fruits, Cheeses, Nuts, and more. The warm selection was Vegetarian Spring Rolls.  I later went to the Symphony Dining Room for Dinner, I ordered two entrees: Veal Scaloppine and Sautéed Shrimp & Scallops.  The Scallops were disappointing not nearly as good as last week, but the Veal was fair.  I went by  Crooners to get some Ice and Coca-Cola as I had a TV night this evening.  It was a good day in Juneau Alaska.

Day Five -- Wednesday --  June 19th, 2024 — Skagway and Haines, Alaska

Smooth seas overnight and I slept well. Again, it seemed to be light all night and we were docked in Skagway when I woke. I went to the MDR for breakfast, Eggs Benedict + Potatoes & Bacon, a Fruit Plate, Danish, Hot Milk, and Juice. My excursion today is Haines Wilderness Odyssey By Jet Boat. Because of the landslide along the Pier a few years ago guests had to tender a short way to a pier and they began that at about 6:30 am, my excursion meeting time was at 10:30 am and we were tendered thereby 11:00. We waited for the 45 minute Ferry Boat to Haines that luckily sails from that same pier. The time on the ferry was scenic and went by quickly as I visited with my new friend from LA (Lower Alabama). Upon arrival at the Haines Pier, we boarded buses to our destination along the scenic Chilkat River.  We used Chilkat River Adventures and their specially designed flat-bottom boats to tour the river.  Not as much wildlife as I had hoped but we did see Eagles and a Coastal Brown Bear with FOUR Cubs.  That is rare. The majestic views along the river were wonderful (photo). After the tour and lunch, we took the bus back to Haines and then the ferry back to Skagway. I met my new friend again who went to the Wildlife (rescue) Center and had up-close experiences with Moose, Foxes, and more.  Certainly several tour options from Haines and well worth the ferry trip. Fortunately for me, we dock at the same dock as the Princess tender boats so after a wait on the tender boat I was back on the ship at about 6:30 p.m. After refreshing I was ready for a couple of cocktails at Crooners, then dinner in the MDR.  Tonight I was ready for dinner and I ordered: a Seafood Vol-au-Vent pastry, a Shrimp Cocktail, the Spaghetti Ala Carbonara Pasta course, and the Pan-fried Chicken Scaloppine entree.  It was all very good. After my late dinner, I retired to the cabin and was soon fast asleep. It was a great excursion day to Haines Alaska.

 

Day Six -- Thursday --  June 20th, 2024 -- Sailing Glacier Bay Alaska   
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. I have a lot of business and blog to catch up on today, but went up for breakfast in the Horizon Court at about 9:45, it was busy with many watching the beautiful scenery of Glacier Bay. We entered Glacier Bay National Park very early so we were already well up in the fjord by breakfast. I had Fried Eggs, Eggs Benedict, Bacon, Hash Browns, and Juice. It was better than the MDR but my timing was probably perfect. I did go into an inlet to see a glacier we did not stop and see last week, the John Hopkins Glacier, it was very nice with great color and the Captain was stalling as the NCL Encore was already at the head of the bay.  I returned to the cabin for binoculars and went back out picking a viewing spot that we would be turning into at Margerie Glacier.   The weather was great for viewing and less ice than last week. I again enjoyed it. The ship did two full 360° turns too giving the all including aft viewers a much better view. I then returned to the cabin to update this blog and get some business done.  When the National Park Rangers debarked at about 3:15 pm the CD mentioned the special musical show in the Piazza at 3:30 and needing a break I attended.  It was great with the Feature Musical Band with Ship Orchestra combined…it was wonderful and a start to a great afternoon. During the show, I ordered two drinks using the Medallion system, and they were delivered within 15 minutes.  After the show, I had two sandwiches: Chicken Salad and a heated Ham on Pretzel from the International Cafe. I then went across to the Gelato Station and discovered that with the Pro Package, you get Premium Sundaes…I was expecting perhaps a deluxe cone but this was much more.  Of the many choices, I got the one with the least Chocolate, the Donatello.  Oh my, I can't do that every day.  I did not attend the Elite Cocktail party this evening and did absolutely nothing until I went to the Harmony Grill for some Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, and Vegetables.  I got some ice from the bar and retired for the night.  It was a brilliant day cruising in Glacier Bay.
 
Day Seven -- Friday --  June 21, 2024 -- College Fjord
Slight rocking overnight as we cross the Gulf of Alaska and open water. It is overcast and wet early this morning for the first time this cruise, but we don’t reach College Fjord until very late in the day.  I was awake for the Market opening this morning @ 5:30 am so did some business.  Then I went up to Lido for Breakfast.  I had three Fried Eggs, Bacon, Grilled Tomato, Hash Browns, and a very nice and impressive Biscuit.  I know biscuits and this was as good as you can get on a ship.  I was back in the cabin by 8:00 and it was already made up…I’ve had very good timing with my Cabin Stewart, I think the Medallion may have something to do with it. I'm still amazed that it unlocks the door before I reach it.  Today was the Most Traveled Guest Luncheon with the Captain and Senior Staff, I made the cut again even though I haven’t been sailing Princess like I did years ago.  Probably more now that they are going to sail from Port Canaveral and Galveston. The Luncheon was in Sabatini’s at noon and was very nice.  I received a personalized invitation a few days ago and today we had Personal Menus as our table place cards.  The officer at our table was the Head of Security.  The Captain took a photo with all the guests as we entered and the Senior Staff was introduced.  Service was top notch and the Menu offered several choices. I ordered: the Alaskan Seafood Cake, the Wild Alaskan Crusted Halibut entree, and the Rhubarb Swirl Delight for dessert.  Bread and wine were served. I’ve attended many of these, and Princess’ is the best,  but this one was very special, exceeding any premium dinner or Chef Table I have attended on a cruise ship. I relaxed during the afternoon until we arrived at College Fjord at about 5:00 pm.  I had dinner on Lido, Minute Steak & Chicken Cordon Blu, while we were sailing up the fjord. It was nearly 6:15 when we arrived at the series of glaciers all named for American Schools.  The Harvard and Yale Glaciers are the major ones.  The weather was brilliant this evening, the Ranger said we rarely get a big blue sky and all the mountain peaks,  The downside was no wildlife but the majesty of numerous glaciers was amazing.  The Wildlife Ranger did a program from the Ships’s Bridge as we viewed each of the individual glaciers.  It was well worth the time.  When I returned to my cabin there was luggage in the passageway…many guests ended their cruise or continued to Denali, with many continuing on the 14-day back to Vancouver as am I.  I’m retiring early as I have an excursion on the water tomorrow,  It was a very enjoyable day on the Royal Princess.

 

Day Eight -- Saturday -- June 22nd, 2024 -- Whittier, Alaska

Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well.  We were already docked when I woke at about 6:30 am.  They were already debarking guests that early too. Trains to take guests to Denali, Buses for those to Anchorage, and some staying onboard for return to Vancouver. I went to the Lido for Breakfast as not sure of the schedule on this turn-around day.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Saturday, June 8, 2024

Alaska Cruise on the HAL Koningsdam - June 8, 2024

HAL Konsingdam Alaska Cruise Review - June 8, 2024

Just The Facts:

Ship:  Holland America Line’s Konsingdam, a Pinnacle Class class @100,000 gross tons and 2800+ capacity
Captain: Arno Jutten  -  Cruise Director: BettyAnn Chun
Ports: Vancouver, Canada - Juneau, AK - Skagway, AK - Glacier Bay (Sailing) - Ketchikan AK

This is my first cruise on the HAL Konsingdam, only my 4th Holland America cruise, but my 211th cruise overall.  I am sailing as a solo but with a group of classmates from DCHS  and cruise friends.  I haven’t sailed the Alaska ports recently so this will be fun and a bit different.
 
Travel Day One -- Thursday -- June 6th, 2024 -- Tampa Florida to Vancouver Canada
I left the Florida Villa at about 9:30 a.m. with a Lyft driver to the TPA Airport and my 1:00 pm flight. I flew on United Airlines through Denver in approximately two three-hour segments. Just a short layover in Denver so arrived in Vancouver at about 6:30 pm local Pacific time.  I took a regulated ($41Can w/Tip) Taxi downtown and my hotel, The Georgian Court Hotel.  I had a conflict as tonight is the final of the WCWS Softball Championships with my Sooners vs. the Texas Longhorns.  I was able to watch an inning from baggage claim at the airport, an inning on the half-hour Taxi Ride, and then the final two innings at the hotel.  The Oklahoma Sooners won their fourth consecutive National Championship. Amazing. The hotel is a premium hotel with all the amenities one would want so pricy even as Vancouver is already considered an expensive city for travel.  Very nice though.  After the Softball game, I walked a couple of blocks to a Vietnamese Restaurant, Pho Khanh Express, for a nice bowl of Pho…it was excellent.  I enjoyed my Chick-fil-A at TPA and my Smash Burger at DEN so a good day for easy and enjoyable food.  I retired after dinner and enjoyed watching Sooner softball highlights and team interviews before sleep.  Note: my classmates, from Oklahoma, was able to watch the game at the sports bar across from the hotel, they converted the locals too.
 
Travel Day Two -- Friday -- June 7th, 2024 -- Vancouver Canada
I failed to close the window shades and the sun comes up early here so I was awake by 4:45 am although that is 8:45 in Florida.  I walked down to Mcdonald's for a simple breakfast then met friends for our 10:00 am Vancouver City Highlights Tour.  Fortunately, one of the pickup points was my hotel.  After driving through the Downtown area our first stop was the Stanley Park Totem Poles.  It was a very nice area…we then drove the rest of the large urban park towards our next destination: Granville Island.  We had about an hour and a half to visit the famous Public Market and the many unique shops and venues.  They have over fifty various specialized food sellers so deciding is also fun.  I went with Kaisereck Delicatessen located in the Public Market.  I ordered the Schnitzel Plate: Schnitzel (breaded and freshly cooked), fresh Sauerkraut, Sautèed onions, and Potato salad.  I also had a large Oatmeal Raisin cookie from one of the bakeries.  All Excellent.  We then drove through Chinatown and the Gastown District with a brief stop at the famous vintage Steam Clock (photo).  Our final and feature stop was at the Vancouver Lookout atop a Vancouver high-rise with a 360* view of Vancouver, the Harbor, and the Mountains beyond,  We were blessed with a beautiful day for it too.  I enjoyed it very much.  It's a nice place to visit perhaps even better on your own as a good place to take a cool break when touring downtown.  We were a bit rushed as a group. Soon we were dropped back at our hotels and I took time to relax and begin this blog review.  I passed on a group dinner as they were going for Pho on my recommendation and close location.  Vancouver has 40% Asian population with a wide variety of Asian restaurants.  I had a great hot shower and went to bed to relax and work online.  They have fast WiFi and I have a nice room so I’ll enjoy it this evening.   It was a very beautiful and interesting day in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Day One -- Saturday --  June 8th, 2024 -- Embarkation Day - Vancouver Canada 
I woke early but had a very good and long night's sleep.  I enjoyed the room and WiFi until meeting others to share a Taxi ($20 for 3 +bags) to Canada Place at about 10:15 am.  Short trip and we checked our bags in the underground drop-off location.  Then up to U.S. Customs for face recognition.  The next step is security for carry-on bags and then to check in with Holland America.  Just a very short wait until boarding and I was on board at about 11:30 am.  Going early worked very well.  The cabins weren’t ready, but I went by just to get my key card…it wasn’t out as yet so I sat on my aft-facing balcony looking at a perfect view of downtown Vancouver (photo).  The cabin steward came by and finished my cabin so I got my sail card and went up to Lido aft pool for a cocktail. Just after noonish, they announced that cabins were ready so that cleared out the Lido Buffet…I then went there to eat.  I had two Tacos from the Carving Station (fresh sliced pork) with fixings.  Then I tried the Cannelloni with Bolognese Sauce.  All good.  I found my group by the main pool starboard side with a great view and we visited.  Then a rare thing happened:  If you sailed from here you recall that you can watch the Float Planes take off and land between Canada Place (our location) and Stanley Park.  Unfortunately, a boater was racing and cut across the flight path and was hit by the plane.  The boater was a fatality and the plane flipped.  Authorities were there quickly. They salvaged the plane (96% underwater) dragging it ashore.  At 2:00 pm the Muster Stations open…an easy card scan then watch the video on cabin TV.  Easy Peasy.  I do have a drink package for this cruise so I had a few Daiquiris this afternoon.  Nice.  After unpacking I met friends at the Ocean Bar for a few Cosmopolitans before our 7:30 dinner in the Main Dining Room (MDR).  Tonight's dinner was very good,  I ordered the Sea Food appetizer, the Pork Tornadoes with Marion Berry (local) jelly, and a nice whipped fruit dessert.  Some went to the 50’s Show, but I retired to the cabin.  I set up the Music choices on the TV and updated this review before sleep.  It was a great embark day for the Konsingdam.

Day Two -- Sunday --  June 9th, 2024 -- Inside Passage to Alaska 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well although seas are rolling this morning.  I woke up early and updated this blog.  They have a Seaday Brunch in the MDR opening at 9:00 am and I went shortly afterward.  I ordered a unique Alaskan Smoothie (apples, beets, pumpkin seeds), Hot Milk, Eggs Benedict with sides of Bacon & Hash Browns, and a Bloody Mary.  It was very good and nice English guests to visit with.  I began my walkabout this morning starting with Deck 3 the Promenade deck from aft to forward, then went up to Deck 12 and the Crows Nest.  I enjoyed a Coca-Cola then friends came by so tried a Leffe Belgian Beer.  I then finished my walkabout on Deck 2 forward to aft.  The seas continue to be rolling more than I have ever experienced on the Inside Passage.  I then had a Hamburger and Fries from Dive-In up on Lido Deck.  You have a choice of several burgers or hot dog items leave an order then are buzzed when it is ready.  My burger was very good.  It's nice on the inner deck (65°) by the pool, but the outer decks are breezy and cool (55°). I then had cabin time before going to the Ocean Bar at about 3:00 pm and sat with several Classmates.  Tonight is Captain's Night although most do not dress formally as is the cruising practice of late.  I dressed in a wrinkled dress shirt, I failed to hang it as I had so many shirts for 21 days.  Dinner tonight was very good, I ordered: Escargot Bourguignon, Orange Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail (plated with Melon), the Pinnacle Grill 17 oz Ribeye Steak ($20), and the Black Forest Cake for dessert. It was all excellent (photo...note that it is still daylight @ 9:30 pm).  Most were attending the Comedy Show this evening, but I retired to the cabin early as I had an early excursion.  It was a fun sea day on the Konsingdam.
 
Day Three -- Monday — June 10th, 2024 — Icy Point Strait / Tracy Arm Fjord / Juneau
Smoother seas overnight and I slept well.  We changed our clocks/time back one hour to Alaska time overnight.  It was daylight at 4:30 am and the weather looked better than the forecast…important as I have an excursion on the water this morning. I had a quick early breakfast in the Lido Market, the bacon was nice.  My excursion, Tracy Arm Fjord & Glacier Explorer, met at about 8:30 am in the theater and at about 9:00 we were loaded onto a large Catamaran with two decks and a third observation deck.  I got a seat on the first forward row lower level and end so a view forward and starboard side.  First time to be loaded ship to ship on the sea.  Once we were offloaded the Konsingdam continued to Juneau. Our boat entered Icy Point Strait and then into the Tracy Arm Fjord.  We stopped along the way for wildlife seeing a few Bears, and the large natural Waterfall.  There were a lot of small waterfalls for snow runoff as well.  There was a lot of floating ice two almost large enough to be called icebergs.  We passed the Carnival Miracle plodding along in the Fyord.  At about an hour in we reached the Sawyer Glacier.  It was amazing and the Captain got us in very close.  It was that special blue color as well (photo).  We spent some time here before returning down the Fjord to our original site at Icy Point by noon, but we now had to do the three-hour journey to Juneau.  We did pass some Dolphins along the way and the time passed well.  Five cruise ships in Juneau today. We docked alongside the ship and in the cabin just after 3:00 pm.  I went up to the Lido for a hot lunch: Pasta with Bolognese, a Brisket Burrito, and a nice Green Salad.  I then went off the ship and into Juneau spending most of my time in the Red Dog Saloon.  The Beers were good and the show was very entertaining.  Yes of course I had a Duck Fart as well.  I returned to the ship and no MDR for me tonight. I went up to the Sea View Bar for Coca-Colas for the cabin and ended up swapping stories with the Bartender (it was not busy) then ended up drinking a few Captain Morgans.  I soon retired much too tired to blog so a hot shower and bed was very nice.  It was a great excursion day. 

Day Four -- Tuesday --  June 11, 2024 -- Skagway Alaska 
Smooth seas overnight and I had my best sleep of the trip. I still woke early, but I went to bed early.  At about 8:00 am I went to the MDR for Breakfast, I ordered the Eggs Benedict with Crab & Asparagus Tips, it would have been great but the English Muffin was off. The Bacon, Fruit Plate, Hot Milk, and Danish were good.  I visited with new and old friends on the way out of the MDR.  Most of my group is off for the Railway on several types of rail excursions.  I’ve done it a few times so I updated this blog in the morning and will go out to walk about and enjoy the better-than-forecast weather.  I think my friends will have a great day going up the mountain by rail.  At about 11:00 am I took a shuttle into town it is the most people I have ever seen in Skagway.  There are four ships fair-sized ships docked today: HAL Koningsdam, Celebrity Edge, Crown Princess, and Discovery Princess.  I had my obligatory beer at the Red Onion Saloon and walked around a bit, just too many people so I shuttled back at about 1:00 pm.  I had a nice lunch from Lido Market and sat outside enjoying the mountain views.  Then took time on my Balcony with the same view. At about 6:00 pm I met the group for cocktails at the Ocean Bar.  Yes, they all enjoyed their railroading adventure today.  I made reservations at Canaletto the premium Italian Restaurant on Deck 9 for 7:30 pm and had a nice window table.  I enjoyed a Cocktail and the Bread with a variety of Tapenade and Oil & Vinegar as we began sailing away from Skagway. I ordered the Burrata served with nice Tomatoes and dressing, the featured Seared Scallops, the Italian Sausage Paccheri, and the Baked Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake for dessert.  It was all excellent, especially the Scallops and I was very satisfied with the meal and service.  After dinner, I went out on the outer deck aft to enjoy the wonderful views as we sailed away.  The mountains are brilliant with the snow cover at the tops and majestic rising from the sea.  My cabin was turned down, but I opened up the curtains to continue to enjoy the scenery.  The aft view was spectacular this evening.  Another great day in Alaska.
 
Day Five -- Wednesday --  June 12th, 2024 — Sailing Glacier Bay Alaska 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept well.  We entered Glacier Bay National Park and picked up the Park Rangers and Conservationists at about 6:30 am.  I went to the MDR for a nice Country Breakfast of my design: Three Eggs over easy, Bacon, Sausage, Hash Browns & Toast.  Also Hot Milk, Tomato Juice, and a Danish. It was good and we were reaching some of the better viewing areas of Glacier Bay.  By the time I returned to the cabin they had begun their 360° turns… which makes the aft-facing cabins with wonderful views.  Also avoids the Crows Nest crowd and a better open-air experience. At about 11:15 we reached the Margerie Glacier and the Grand Pacific Glacier at the upper end of the bay just below the Canadian border.  The Margerie Glacier is spectacular as you can see most of it from the water's edge up the mountain.  Certainly the highlight of Glacier Bay.  I sat with friends in the Lido Market and had a few cookies for lunch.   then took some Cokes back to the cabin.  Sailing south I’m getting the full view of Glacier Bay from the aft-facing balcony and it is magnificent.  I’m glad I booked this location.  At about 3:00 pm I went to Dive-In for a Hamburger and ordered the same as Sunday but with two fries, they are so good, to me they taste like cactus fries. We dropped off the Park Rangers at about 3:30 so we began heading south towards Ketchikan and eventually Vancouver.  A short walkabout the ship before dinner @ 7:30 pm. Tonight was the second Gala night so a fair menu.  I ordered the Escargot Bourguignon, Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, the Beef Tenderloin Oscar entree, and a Black Forest Sundae for dessert.  It was very good.  I did go to B.B.Kings nightclub, that's one of the favorite evening spots for the group.  The comedian has been getting positive comments as well.  It was a brilliant day cruising in Glacier Bay.  My first time as previous attempts were canceled by poor weather...so very pleased.

Day Six -- Thursday --  June 13th, 2024 -- Ketchikan, Alaska

Smooth seas overnight and I slept well. I woke early and updated this blog then went to breakfast in the MDR just after they opened at 7:30 am.  I ordered Hot Milk, Mixed Berries, Danish, three Eggs, Bacon, Sausage, and Hash Browns.  Nice people at an aft-sharing table, actually saw a Sea Lion too. There are six cruise ships in Ketchikan today so we have the short straw and will have to tender, fortunately, I have an excursion so we’ll have an early tender.  My meeting time is 11:15 am and the excursion is  Wilderness Cruise and Silverking Lodge Seafood Feast.  My tender left at about 12:05 and boarded a bus to take us to the north part of the island then loaded a boat for Silverking Lodge.  On the way was saw a pair of Eagles that dove for fish next to our boat,  very impressive (photo).  Once docked at the lodge we took a walk into the Rainforest to one of the largest Red Cedar trees in North America…it too was impressive.  We then had a nice seafood boil at a pavilion.  Crab Legs, Shrimp, Clams, Mussels, Red & White potatoes, Corn on the Cob, Sausage, Garlic, and probably more in the Pot dumped on our table for eight.  We also had drawn butter and a bottle of water.  It was fun and good food.  We then returned by the same route to Ketchikan.  I walked around town for a while then ran into friends before returning to the Shuttle location.  I was told by a guide to try the local Huckleberry Fudge if possible and found a piece of Huckleberry/Vanilla…wonderful.  We were back on the ship at about 6:00 pm.  I relaxed for a bit then went upstairs to the Lido for a light dinner: Fried Chicken, Red Fish, Mashed Potatoes, and Vegetables.  I watched us sail out of Ketchikan and I could easily see the interesting Sea Captain's houses on the hills above the town and waterfront.  It doesn’t get dark here until after 10:00 pm.  I watched some news on TV for the first time in a week, then retired.  It was an interesting day in Alaska.
 
Day Seven -- Friday --  June 14, 2023 -- Sailing the Inside Passage
Smooth seas overnight and I slept well. We moved our clocks forward one hour to Vancouver time during the night.  I went up to the Lido Market and it was not busy so I had a nice omelet from the Omelet Station and Bacon, Hash Browns, Fruit, and Danish…very good.  Visited with friends before returning to the cabin to do some business online as we are four hours from EST.  I went to the Ocean Bar for a Daiquiri at about 11:30 then to the Pinnacle Grill (steakhouse) for a nice lunch.  I had the only two-top table on a window and enjoyed the view and service.  I ordered the Spinach Arugula Salad as a starter, the Lobster Roll with French Fries & Slaw as my entree, and the Strawberry Pavola for dessert.  Very nice.  I did a short walkabout before returning to the cabin.  I did go to Guest Services and it wasn’t busy, that’s unusual on the final day, I got late luggage tags and some tip money.  It looks like rainy weather for my S2S day tomorrow so I’ll try to time it to just go from the Konsingdam direct to the Royal Princess.  We met for cocktails @ 6:00 pm at the Ocean Bar then to the MDR for our final dinner of the cruise. Tonight I had the Green salad, Tomato Soup, the Beef Tips entree, and Baked Alaska for dessert.  After all the farewells I retired to the cabin to pack my large bag.  That is something I am not used to doing as I usually roll on and roll off my luggage…but a different situation here with the S2S.  I did get my large bag out by 10:00 ish.  We had good views today sailing the Inside Passage.  It was night when we sailed through narrow parts on the way north so we missed these views.  It was a busy final day on the Konsingdam.

Debarkation -- Saturday -- June 15th, 2023 -- Vancouver, BC Canada
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well.  We were already docked when I woke at about 6:15 am.  I saw my new ride dock at about 7:30 am.  I packed my carry-on bag and went upstairs to the Lido Buffet for nice fresh prepared Eggs, Bacon, and Sausage, taking my time as I knew I was going to stay around Canada Place between cruises.  My tags were called at about 9:00 and I debarked shortly afterwards.  I cleared Canadian Customs then took a special elevator down to baggage and there was a Princess booth for those without luggage tags when I stepped off.  She made two tags and I rolled them over to a porter, that was well done and I didn’t have to roll bags far at all.  I was also checked in by Princess very early; however, Security and U.S. Customs were not taking guests until after 11:30 am.  I found a great Food Court below (waterside) in Canada Place.  Lots of tables, a dozen food vendors, and clean restrooms.  Also, a Recall Drug that I needed to refill my Glucosamine.  A win-win deal for me.  I updated this blog, drank Coca-Cola, and waited until afternoon to make my way to my new ship

HIGHLIGHTS

Sailing with Classmates and Friends

Sailing Glacier Bay

My aft-view Cabin

Tracy Arm Fjord

Canaletto Italian Restaurant

Best French-fries at Sea


 

COMMENTS

Individual Cabins are nicely done and larger than most cruise ship.

Cabin service is twice a day with Turn-down service including ICE twice daily.

Food in MDR is very good, but Lido is only average and lacks variety ... IMHO

I don’t like that the staff plates your food in the Lido Market…slows service and limits my choices.